Visitors may have a hard time telling whether Bold Moves is an authentic move on the part of Ford to involve its audience in the company’s turnaround or simply an ad campaign seeking to gain sympathy and product support. Airing from May 2, 2006 to January 5, 2007, the 30-part series explained the reasons for the company’s paradigm shift, methods to make change, and a behind-the-scenes look at how Ford planned to implement these alterations. With its last episode titled “Change or Die” and an entrance reading “Venture into the site and become a part of Bold Moves today. Ford’s future depends on it,” the focus is on you, the potential Ford buyer, to decide whether or not the company will succeed the site must make you believe it has made enough of a bold move to continue the company’s century of success into the next hundred years. The results of the campaign still remain to be seen.
The episodes, which are all about five minutes long, serve as focal points for discussion about Ford’s attempt to recreate itself in the public eye, allowing viewers to become a fly on the wall at executive meetings and give feedback via comments and blogs. Videos look into the company’s past, its present, and its future, with a tendency to promote new vehicles at the same time. For example, Episode 15 (the description reads: “With the future at stake, how does Ford balance risk with reward? By daring to be different!”) shows executives debating whether people at a Detroit car show will enjoy a new product, but the episode mostly features the aforementioned product, which does indeed appear to go over very well at the car show. What’s interesting is that two Op/Ed articles, called “Point vs. Counterpoint”, written by bloggers and journalists in an attempt to show two sides of the story, accompanied each episode. On top of that, A mix of related Features and Websites allowed viewers to do their own investigation and the Community boards allowed viewers to post comments, most of which were very harsh. So while the videos clearly had a marketed slant and the company chose which critical bloggers to feature in the end, the site did have a balance of opinionated input. Whether or not you accept the premise that the documentary is authentic, good-natured, and impartial, it certainly is both an innovative and effective way to get consumers talking about Ford’s products.
History buffs will enjoy the Inspiring Imagination series (Episodes two through five) which brought viewers on a trip back in time to the Mustang’s early years in the 1960’s and 70’s. Engineer and racecar driver Shelby makes for a colorful narrator and his reemergence into the Ford company helps create the underdog feel that the Bold Moves creators use to garner sympathy.